Today the walls caved in a little, just enough so I reached out for support, a little something to steady my world – and found my daughter. Strong and stoic, fully able to look me in the eyes and share her need with mine, we felt the same and said little but I love you, and I’m really going to miss you.
I cried, sobbed quietly into a shoulder I’d held countless times through the years, This time a daughter held a mother, tenderly, compassionately, sorrowfully. Few words fill space like that, just enormous grief at a loss soon to come and can’t be avoided, lessened, divided and portioned between sisters, daughters, parents and deeply loved ones because once the moment arrives, the loss is terribly unfair and lopsided. I will be absent. She will remain. And the void will fill a small, lonely universe once brimming with expectation, congratulations, advice, laughter, pride, shared sorrows and rejoicing, and endless, boundless love and grace and acceptance for this woman who heretofore has been me and my hopes for her and each of her sisters. And now it will be them.
In that moment when strong and stoic fail to provide, I know I will lose it silently. My grief is not noisy, nor is it hidden, but it bows my head and closes my eyes and brings forth long shudders of pure sadness at leaving behind very real, live, vital elements of my self, my being, all that I have never kept from those whom I love without thinking or questioning. Each of them is me, completely with my faults, weaknesses, strengths, intuition, and steadfast assuredness that what I do, how I feel and love and share and protect and build loyalty to is worthy.
When I am absent, each of my daughters will know surely that the love between us all will stand and be sufficient for whatever they will face in years to come. Most of it has already been tested and proven, and I am satisfied. Turning to me will be a second thought because they’re well-practiced in using all they were raised in to carry them through life to this point. In each of them has been proven a resilient character, the ability to measure a loss and it’s value, and courage to continue or forge a new, better path. Do not quit. Do not blame. Take self-responsibility. Learn from your mistakes or find a help source to be trusted in that determination. Most of all, stand by your people – sisters, family, loved ones, friends, those who truly matter and care for your well being. Be loyal. Be truthful, always, and find a way to do it lovingly because sometimes truth is more painful than a lie but it is never wrong.
When I am gone, remember I thought of this moment, this very one with my arms around you and yours around mine, for it is in this moment I know who you are, and that you are so very capable and strong and able in your sorrow to carry me, of all the strong people you know out there, that I cease worrying about the how of you doing it, but imagining you do it brings a smile to my face. If I were here, you would carry on, lead, and navigate as if you were alongside me with wisdom and grace and, yes, even confidence that we would do one and the same for those in need.
I love you, each of you, all three of you and I know in heart, mind, and soul you will continue to grow as strong, vibrant, vital women to contribute all that any might ask of you. Whether a meal, good humor, a place of rest, a refuge – you will offer it well and with honesty and love, without asking for recompense. Love well, do it often, don’t let that gift go stale or rust or become brittle. Who cares what others think or may judge by – make sure to share all good things with those who ask of you just a word, a kind one, and a bit of your time; we each have the same minutes and hours in a day. Fill them with good, meaningful, worthy endeavors, thoughts, and then follow through – do not leave love half baked, half done, unfinished. It’s about our fellows, this life we live, and sharing how we can to be happy without being selfish or lonely.
Love well and share it. Live well and experience all that you can. Don’t regret, don’t procrastinate, and turn over all those little stones in your Box of Rocks before you begin your story. That’s a good life.